Saturday, 9 November 2013

Seasonal Clementine and Cinnamon Malt Loaf - (adapted from a Paul Hollywood Recipe)

It's a miserable and wet afternoon and I'm home with a poorly little boy.

Other than snuggles with my little man, what better is there to do than spend the afternoon making bread !

I've adapted an original Paul Hollywood recipe to give it my own twist. 

This smells really Christmassy and is very flavourful without being over-powering.

25g salted butter
25g white granulated sugar
90g malt extract
70g black treacle
2 clementines, with very thin, tight skin
2 tsp cinnamon
350g white bread flour
150g spelt flour
200mls warm water
225g mixed vine fruits (sultanas, raisins, etc)
14g fast action yeast

Put butter, sugar, malt extract and black treacle in a pan and stir on a medium heat until sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Take two, tight skinned clementines (the type where there is no bitter white pith under the skin) and check they have no pips. Blend to a puree and then add to the warm syrup mix in the pan.

Put flours, salt, vine fruit, cinnamon and yeast (away from the salt) into another bowl. Add the water and bring together. Tip on to a floured work surface and knead lightly for a few mins until a soft dough comes together.

Cut dough into two equal pieces. These can either then be put into 1lb loaf moulds and then covered and left to rise for about 2 hours. I chose to use 1 x 1lb loaf mould and 1 x 10 cell mini loaf mould (of which I filled 9 small cells with 75grams of dough per cell)

Bake larger 1lb loaf for 30mins at 190deg C, small ones for 12mins.

On removing from the oven, brush the tops with agave nectar, honey or syrup whilst still hot. Remove from moulds / tins and allow to cool.

Sarah-Jane Nash - - November 2013

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Peanut Nougatine Chocolate Truffle Slicing / Sharing Log - A Real Treat !

Often, my creations don't come out as I originally intended. Like this one... 

In the beginning, I intended to make a peanut nougat - but on tasting the mixture, decided it was a bit too sickly sweet on it's own and then transformed it into these slicing bars.

Thankfully, I made a note of exactly what I did / used along the way ! If you have made marshmallows before, you'll find this a breeze.

Actually, I think it would be mind blowing done with pistachio nuts and dipped in white or dark chocolate.... 

This recipe creates quite a large batch. Either 6 large slicing bars, or 4 large / 4 medium or 8 medium. Ideal for Christmas hampers !


 Ingredients .... For the Nougatine : 

2 egg whites
1.1/2 cups / 320g granulated sugar 
150ml corn syrup (or glucose)
150ml golden syrup
2tsp of Frangelico (hazelnut liquer) - if you have any
2tsp vanilla extract
60ml water
150g of crunchy peanut butter - eg Sunpat / JIF
sea salt
125g of white chocolate

200g salted peanuts

Ingredients ...... for the ganache

500g of milk (or dark) chocolate
1 tsp glucose / corn syrup
275g double cream

Belgian couverture chocolate for coating (sorry - I did not weigh how much I used)

You will need liquid glucose. Liquid glucose is very very thick and sticky - not unlike golden syrup I suppose - but totally clear and even stickier still. Most supermarkets stock it in 140g tubes, or you can buy it from Boots The Chemist. Do ask for it at Boots though as it is generally not on display. Alternatively, corn syrup is what is used in most American recipes for nougat. I've just found it on Ebay and Amazon in the UK, so if you are struggling for liquid glucose then you will need some corn syrup.

You CAN use all corn syrup / glucose in this recipe if you prefer. I wanted a golden tint from the golden syrup for this nougat, but all golden syrup would have made it far too sickly sweet. It's seriously sweet as it is ! I'd suggest you invest in some corn syrup...

You WILL need a sugar thermometer. Don't even think of trying this without one - temperature is absolutely critical. Too high and you'll burn the caramel part and too low it'll just never set....

For those in the UK, corn syrup can be bought from Works out considerably cheaper than buying liquid glucose. Golden syrup can be used as a substitute, but it's a lot sweeter in taste. Worth investing in corn syrup for candy making - the difference (ease) is incredible. Some larger branches of TESCO now also have a small American isle and now stock corn syrup.


Scrape the seeds out the vanilla pod and put aside (if using instead of extract). Put the pod itself and the sugar, corn syrup, golden syrup and water into a large, heavy based saucepan (preferably non stick - you'll appreciate that later !)

Bring these slowly to a rolling boil and keep on the heat until temperature reaches 248  to 250deg F. This will take about 15 to 20 mins.

Melt the chocolate, peanut butter and vanilla / frangelico together.

Whip the egg whites to firm peak. With the mixer on full, pour in the hot syrup on to the egg whites. Now mix in the melted chocolate / peanut butter / vanilla / frangelico. Only mix for about 1 > 2 minutes after adding the peanut butter mix. 

Scrape into a well oiled 8" square silicone mould / pan and sprinkle with Maldon sea salt. Leave to cool and then refrigerate until set.

Remove from the mould and place between two sheets of greaseproof paper. Roll out to approx 14" square. You can now cut this into two pieces, or leave whole and cut later....  I put my nougatine (bottom paper still in place) on top of my tray. The tray I used is a vegetable roasting tray that came from Lakeland. It's very handy and big - also fits perfectly over my sink !

Pulse the salted peanuts a couple of times in a food processor to break up a little, then spread all over the nougatine and press into the surface.


To make the ganache : scald the cream - ie put in a pan and bring just to the boil. Make sure to stir constantly so it does not catch on the base of the pan.

 Put the chocolate in the microwave for about 1 minute to start it softening. Take cream off the heat, and then pour over the chocolate. Add the glucose / corn syrup. Mix with a spatula until all the chocolate has melted and emulsified with the cream. Set aside to cool and thicken. It's ideal if you shove it in the fridge for an hour or two.

When spreadable (a bit like nutella out of a jar - actually - that would be a damn good cheat !), use all of it to spread over the nougatine.

Put in the fridge to harden up a bit for another hour or so.

I then trimmed up the end with a knife and cut it into two pieces.

Dust your hands and work surface liberally with icing sugar. Use the paper to help roll each piece up from the long end, much like a swiss roll. You'll end up with what looks like those marrowbone things for the dog !

Roll out each large sausage and then divide as required. I made 4 great big fat pieces about 8" long and 2" dia, plus 4 smaller ones - approx 6" long and 1" dia.

Wrap each piece individually in cling film / saran wrap and pop in the freezer for an hour or two to harden. They need to be quite firm and stay rigid when you handle them for dipping in chocolate.

When hardened (but NOT frozen solid !) remove from the freezer. Temper some Belgian couverture chocolate - either milk or dark - white will be much too sweet. I have no idea how much chocolate I used - but I'd guess around 500g.

Put on a pair of disposable vinyl gloves and dunk the whole bar in the chocolate, allowing excess to run off. Don't try dipping these with forks etc - at this size, you've no chance ! The gloves may stick to the chocolate a little, so take fingers straight back off and immediately re dunk.

Place on a silicone baking sheet and allow to harden. The chocolate will harden quickly as the bars are quite cold.

Store and serve the bars at room temperature. Slice with a warm, sharp knife into 1cm / 3/8" thick slices.

Enjoy !

Mum - one is on it's way to you. Oliver and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit from Nanny and Pappy last weekend. x

Sarah-Jane Nash - - November 2013

Monday, 4 November 2013

Farty Pants Soup ? We'll Find Out Tomorrow ! (and Rye Sourdough Crackers)

Well - that got your attention ! Now - stop sniggering ...... :-P

This was a healthy meal and a really nice bowl of soup.... but I would imagine that it could have self propellant properties !

My husband came in from work tonight and first thing he did was open the fridge door.

 "Oh - there is nothing worth eating in the fridge - what's for dinner ?"

"There are some chicken breasts in there.....", I said.

"Hmm - can't be bothered"

"Well - there is soup in the pot."

I think Steve is fed up of soup. I have soup a lot. That's diets for you - and I can pack loads of different veggies into a pot of soup and keep the calories down. I don't often use pulses at the moment and carbs such as potatoes, pasta, rice and bread are a rare occurrence for me these days.

However, I'd done a fridge sweep and the veggies which were hovering on the verge of binable went in the pot. It wasn't really enough. There was little there apart from a big bag of sprouts, a potato and an onion.

"What sort of soup is it ?", he asked.

"Oh - you know - just vegetables and stuff...." That was the only answer he got. Well - I wasn't exactly going to tell him it was sprout and bean soup. That might be enough to put anyone off !

Lets just say - it tasted far better than the ingredients sound. Tee hee - but it might make other sounds tomorrow !!


Serves approx 5 > 6

400g of peeled brussel sprouts
250g of peeled potatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
1 tin of butterbeans
3 Knorr Chicken Stock cubes
1/4 tsp white pepper
good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
approx 700mls water

2 > 3 slices of bacon (fat removed) - chopped up finely and fried until crispy.

Shoved all except the bacon in my electric pressure cooker for 40mins and then blended to a thick, smooth consistency. Top dress with some crispy bacon bits.

Serve to un-suspecting husband and pass off as just "Vegetable Soup" then make sure you sleep in the spare room. (Just kidding !)

Served with rye sourdough crackers with a scraping of butter.


(Reposting rye sourdough crackers recipe for my own convenience !)


500g full fat milk
40g honey
30g rye sourdough starter
500g rye flour
250g white bread flour
20g salt
5g bicarbonate of soda
10g spice of choice - ie ginger, cardamom, cumin, caraway, fennel

Knead for 10 > 15 mins in Kitchenaid. Cover and leave overnight.

Next day, roll out balls of approx 50g as thinly as possible on to a silicone mat floured with rye flour. Prick with a fork. Brush with water and top with flaked sea salt and seeds / spices etc ( we used fennel on some and cummin on others). 

Bake at 180deg C for approx  8 > 10mins

Oliver's 5th Birthday Skull Cakes with Gore and Dry Ice !

Happy Birthday Oliver !

I can't believe you are 5 years old already. The last year has been such a blur - but so full of fun ! Was it really a year ago we made that gingerbread pirate ship ?

Hope you enjoyed this year's birthday fun. Soon be time to start thinking about what cake you want when you turn 6 ! Love you loads little man. Mummy xxxx

For Oliver's birthday this year (25th of November, 2013), we had two cakes. One for his party and the other for the day of his birthday - which just happened to be a school day.

After all - you can't have a birthday if you don't have a cake I'm told. That's why Mummy gets to be 38 for another year :-)

The cake above and directly below is cake number 2 - the party cake. 

The small skull was made of white chocolate using the Wilton 3D Dimensons Mini Skull Pan. The top tier cake was red inside and the bottom tier was bright green. Vivid - but just a simple lemon cake with lemon buttercream. The spider web effect is hand painted with lustre dusts.

We had some super awesome fun at the play centre with some dry ice. Watch the kid's expressions in the video. Oliver is still talking about it....

It's ok - it's not REAL smoke....

Happy (tired) boy having a cuddle with Daddy.

Spooky juice anyone ?


Here is the other birthday cake. Oliver got to take it to school !

You will no doubt recognize the life size chocolate skull as I made one last month and blogged about it. Also - the recipe for the marshmallow eyeballs is here. Put them together ..... with some marshmallow krispy treats and strawberry ice cream sauce..... and it makes one heck of a mess when you smash it up !

Oliver and Mrs Newberry cutting the cake.

Yikes - that's a bit scary inside Mummy !

Even after eating marshmallow krispy brains dipped in strawberry blood along with eyeballs - the kids still had room for some cake !

Racing around on the playing field after school with Alfie.

Sarah-Jane Nash - Mummy to Oliver age 5 ! - - Nov 2013